From the category archives:



by Marinka on March 27, 2014

Last month I was spending time with some beloved friends. I think it was book group, but it may have been wine tasting night, who the hell can remember and/or tell the difference. At any rate, we were sitting around and one of the dear friends was blathering on about something or other. It wasn’t about me, so I was quietly dying of boredom, filling out my toe tag, initialing the DNR form, that kind of thing.

I was just about to flat-line, when another friend, also dear and beloved, said, “oh, I love the massage place that’s upstairs from the bagel place.”

I stopped macrameing the noose.

“Massage?” My ears perked up.

I really like massages and when someone has a place to recommend, I take note.

“Yes,” the friend said. “Right above the bagel place.”

I knew where she meant, I’ve seen it a kazillion times during my bagel pilgrimages, and it never once occurred to me to visit.

Because in my universe, all establishments that are upstairs are either Mafia storefronts or whorehouses, possibly both.

I have no idea why I think this, although I haven’t eliminated moronism as a possibility.

“Isn’t that a brothel?” I asked innocently.

“No,” my friend said. “They do regular massages.” And then she gave me a half-sneer, which is not something that I appreciate from my dearly beloved friends.

“Then why is it on the second floor?” I asked. Apparently none of my friends have heard of this Second Floor Brothel And/Or Mafia theory, so they did not know how to respond.

“Because that’s where they rented space,” one of them answered, as though we were discussing real estate.

I wasn’t sure. On the one hand, I wanted to try the massage. The price was reasonable and it was close to bagels. On the other hand, I didn’t want to start dating my masseuse, if you know what I’m getting at. On the third hand, my hips were really tight and I needed to get a massage.

I was tense going in. I don’t know, I think it was from all the tension. I was worried that my friends were getting happy endinged in that place, after being slipped some sort of a mickey situation, and just didn’t know it. Obviously that was working out for them just fine, but I wasn’t interested.

“I’m here for a massage,” I announced when I walked in. “A regular massage,” I added meaningfully.

“Ok,” the lady said and then asked for how long. I was nervous that if I picked the wrong time, it would signify something inappropriate, so I sought guidance.

“What is the regular time for people who want a normal massage without any shenanigans?” I asked, maintaining eye contact. Eye contact that went far towards conveying that I wasn’t there for any shenanigans and that I had a possible personality disorder.

The good news is that the massage was great and didn’t have any surprises. I have to give it to the Mafia– they really know what they’re doing!


Better Red Than Not Talking About Heart Disease

by Marinka on February 13, 2014

Today is your lucky day, because today you get two posts for the price of one.
First, I will tell you about a situation with my kids. And then, I will probably save your life.


This week I received a gift. Actually it was a many gifts, and it arrived from Tieks, the people who make those magically comfortable ballet slippers, but there was one gift that was very different from the others. This gift was two tickets to see the new Broadway musical, Aladdin.

Perhaps you can see my dilemma. I had two tickets, which means that I could take one of my kids. But I have two kids and that’s not even counting Nicki, who has experienced enough prejudice as a feline-American to last nine lifetimes, so don’t even get me started.

I wondered which one of my kids would want to accompany me to see Aladdin.

“Who wants to see Aladdin on Broadway?” I asked and heard my daughter gasp.

“Aladdin is going to be on Broadway?” she whispered. “I love Aladdin.” And then she sang A Whole New World.

My decision appeared to have been made, but then my son, taking a break from shooting a basketball into a mini-hoop in the living room which is not at all annoying and definitely not on par with water-boarding, no matter what you may have heard, piped in.

“That’s not fair,” he said. “I want to see Aladdin too.”

I had what we in the parenting industry call a dilemma.

“You want to see Aladdin?” I asked him.

“I do,” he said. “I’ve always loved Aladdin.”

Maybe I made a mistake, I thought. Maybe I was too quick to think that my daughter was the one to join me at the theater. And yet, something held me back. Some maternal wisdom, passed down through generations.

“Who is Aladdin?” I asked my son.

“You know who he is,” he started. “A guy.”

“What kind of guy?” I was not born yesterday.

“A terrorist?” he tried. I mean, definitely, if you have to guess about the title hero in a Broadway musical, “terrorist” is a fine guess.

“I’m taking your sister,” I told him. She was in the middle of vacuuming the magic carpet.

“Why?” he asked, indignant. “Just because she likes Aladdin and I don’t?”

“Exactly,” I said, resting my case.

“That makes no sense,” he insisted. “You go to a lot of things that you don’t like.”

“Like what?” I asked, annoyed that my case would not rest.

“Like baseball games. You don’t really like them.”

“Well, I go because I like spending time with you,” I relented, thinking about what a Class A mother I was. Really top-notch.

“Exactly,” he started to rest his case. “That’s why I want to go, too. To spend time with you, Mom.”

Nicely played, son. Nicely. Played.

* * *
Back to Tieks. You know, Tieks. The super comfortable ballet flat slippers that happen to be on Oprah’s favorite things list. Earlier this month they contacted me and offered to send me a pair of red ballet slippers in honor of American Heart Month. Since heart disease is on my list of things to be terrified of, and I love ballet slippers, I said “yes, please, size 11.” (What? Your feet grow with each pregnancy. And I have 7 kids.)

The ballet flats (Cardinal Red!) arrived and they are gorgeous and super comfortable. I’m furious that it won’t stop snowing so I can only wear them indoors.

But while I’m indoors, wearing red and spreading awareness to Nicki, I wanted to share some facts with people who are not seeing me wearing red:

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year (approximately one woman every minute!). (OMG. Checking watch. And pulse.)

Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.

An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.

Heart disease can be prevented by:

Getting regular health screenings, especially blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. I made my appointment, have you?

Eating a heart healthy diet (lots of fruits and veggies). (Marzipan fruit and veggies don’t count!)

Exercising for 30 minutes a few times a week.(Sochi, here we come!)

Not smoking or using tobacco products.(This is the easiest one for me. But I know that many people struggle with it. There is help out there.)

Thank you, Tieks for teaming up with the American Heart Association to spread the word about heart disease. Hopefully with more information sharing (what I believe native English people call “education”) we can decrease the instances of heart disease.





December 8, 2013

A few weeks ago I had one of the worst massages of my life. I’m sorry that I can’t pronounce it outright the worst, but over the years there has been stiff competition.  Like the time a swanky spa asked me if I preferred a male or female therapist and once I expressed a preference […]

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November 26, 2013

If you have internet access and eyes, you’ve probably seen the amazing #TheoandBeau photographs.  What you may not know is that they were taken by my friend Jessica Shyba– under my guidance and supervision.  And exaggeration. I really encourage you to click over to look at the beautiful pictures of Jessica’s son, Beau, napping with […]

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October 7, 2013

The other day, a friend called and asked if I could do him a favor. The thing about favors is that all things being equal, I’d rather they flow the other way. People doing them for me, in other words. It’s not that I don’t want to do favors for other people, it’s just that […]

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September 24, 2013

Last month, I was minding my own business when my husband called. “Are you home?” he asked, because I absolutely refuse to wear that ankle monitoring bracelet that he got me for Christmas. Why aren’t they called anklets, by the way? It would make people under house arrest feel a little bit better about their […]

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June 2, 2013

Last week there was some outrage because of a JC Penney billboard that apparently made it look like they were selling a tea kettle that was like Hitler’s long lost twin. This is one of those things that you are either outraged about or are not. Personally I couldn’t get too excited because I was […]

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May 14, 2013

I woke up on Mother’s Day with three thoughts. 1. I have to get off Level 65 on Candy Crush, but I don’t think it’s humanly possible. 2. Dear Lord, I hope this isn’t the year that my kids decide to surprise me with breakfast in bed because I’m much too crumb-conscious to ever enjoy […]

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